What am I supposed to do when I grow up?
Are you in your 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s and still wondering: What am I supposed to do when I grow up? If so, welcome to a very large crowd. I hope this article will help demystify things for you and help you gain clarity.Fortunately, when compared to previous generations, we have many more options. However, more options can be confusing and cause us to freeze. This is true because of a phenomenon called “choice overload”.
As Wikipedia describes it, choice overload is a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with many options. The term was first introduced by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book, Future Shock.
I define the term “sweet spot” as that place where your passions and talents meet in a way that creates significant market value (if you are still employed or run a business) as well as personal value that fulfills you and nourishes your soul. Also not too bad if it rewards you financially! The following diagram illustrates the sweet spot concept.
Knowing Your Sweet Spot
Everyone’s sweet spot is different and can range from starting a business, going back to work, switching careers, or perhaps exploring something outside the work arena like getting that long overdue degree or traveling to faraway places. A sweet spot could also be something like working in a faith-based or other nonprofit organization. My sweet spot was to use my writing, coaching and entrepreneurial skills to enhance the lives of those who are going through a new phase of life, and it is manifested in the content you are reading at NextPhaseofLife.com.
Sweet spots can be elusive so it’s important not to over-complicate the search process. I’ve found that just a few key questions can help you narrow the options.
- What are you most passionate about – list 3 to 5 items.
- What do you really enjoy doing – list 3 to 5 items.
- What are you really good at – list 3 to 5 items.
- How can your answers to questions 1-3 be combined to create a future that is compelling and has high potential value to you and others?
Ask people who know you well for their thoughts on these questions, especially to identify what you are good at. We tend to take those things we are good at for granted and can become blinded to our greatest strengths. Sometimes others can see things that we don’t. But be careful that the person/people you ask have your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, some of the people closest to us may not wish us the best, or may have a desire to keep us in our current “box”. Your desire to get out of that box can create tension – but please don’t let this derail your plans. Read my article on this subject titled, Good Enough can Keep You Stuck.
Knowing your sweet spot will bring you many important benefits, including:
- A sense of deep purpose and fulfillment.
- A feeling that you are doing the right thing at the right time.
- Connection with like-minded people who share your passion.
- Freedom from the seemingly endless quest to find professional and/or personal meaning.
If you are still unsure, there is one other option to help you find your sweet spot. Hire one of our certified Next Phase coaches to help you with the process. Just contact us at info@NextPhaseofLife.com and we will send you recommendations. And read here for more information on work and volunteer options.